TRAGIC: Toddler shoots and kills his mother inside Idaho Walmart store

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(CNN) — A 29-year-old mother was fatally shot Tuesday in an Idaho Walmart when her 2-year-old son in the shopping cart grabbed a gun that was in her purse and shot her in an apparent accident, authorities said.

Detectives were investigating the scene and Walmart officials immediately shuttered the store in Hayden, said the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

The mother was identified by the sheriff’s office as Veronica J. Rutledge of Blackfoot.

At the time, the mother and son were shopping with other family members, authorities said.

“The shooting appears to be accidental,” said a statement by Sheriff Ben Wolfinger and Lt. Stu Miller.

At a press conference, Miller said the mother was shopping at the back of the store in the electronics department.

“It appears that the victim brought several of her children here to do some shopping after the holidays,” Miller told reporters in the parking lot. “The child looks like to be sitting in the shopping cart with the purse while the female victim was shopping.”

“Here it is around the holidays, just after Christmas and right before the New Year — tragic, tragic accident,” Miller said. “It’s not a pleasant experience right now.”

The shooting occurred about 10:20 a.m.

“A very sad incident happened in our store in Hayden, Idaho, that involved a female customer,” said Walmart spokesperson Brooke Buchanan. “We are working closely with the local sheriff’s department as they investigate what happened.”

The Walmart will reopen Wednesday morning, officials said.


  • Amber

    I’m sorry (no I’m not) but if you are dumb enough to leave a weapon in arms reach of a two year old, then you kind of deserve it. Also, why wasn’t the safety on? Clearly she was not a responsible gun owner. She’s lucky the poor baby didn’t shoot itself instead.

    • Gus

      Some of the smaller CC handguns don’t have a safety, just a long firm trigger pull. But if that’s the case, it’s the owners responsibility to keep it in the proper holster and DEFINITELY out of the reach of a 2 year old. Very sad.

      • debooz

        What an unresearched comment that is. Take a look at gun crimes in chicago, the city with the stiffest laws in the country and then try to convice somebody with your rhetoric.

      • Amron

        Stupid people are those who think as you do! The mother should have left it in the car with a two year old in tow. Her training must not have been complete. A sad situation! God Bless the family!!

      • Bob

        Hey Todd, you can’t legislate intelligence. There are also laws that permit people to be licensed drivers and some of those people choose to drink and drive and kill people. So you think that we shouldn’t allow people to obtain a drivers license because they may drink and drive and kill somebody?? That is how stupid your comment truly is…

      • Briana Berrios

        Sarcasm is not needed in a serious case like this gun laws are perfectly the fact that you even comment words like that is dreadful learn a little before you are sarcastic about it

    • Not a fan of firearms

      The problem is that some people have guns that are given as gifts, inherited, etc. These people have never had gun class one on one before just like MILLIONS of people. I am not a fan of guns period and this is yet another reason why. so sad.

    • Bob

      Hey Amber, the gun may not have a safety. I own two 357 revolvers that do not have safetys on them. I would never leave one of my guns out where someone else could take possession of it. That is because I am a responsible gun owner.

  • Amron

    That’s true, but doubt it will ever change. With terrorist muslims entering the USA, we all should be carrying! I’d like to keep my head on, thank you very much!! You who are for gun control…. good luck to you!

  • gun owner

    This very sad incident and a mother has lost her life. This has nothing to do with the current issue that people are protesting. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have not stopped the police from performing their jobs. What the protesters have done is brought to light bad policing. No should be allowed to break the law, not even the police. They are there to serve and protect all of us, which I thank them for. The issue is that there are wonderful police officers and there are bad ones that need to be weeded out. God Bless this mother and her family.

    • Bob

      Gun owner you are an i-d-i-o-t. Bad policing??? Each incident stands on it’s own. Don’t resist police and attempt to use deadly force against them and you will not die. Real simple but you probably can’t grasp the concept with your limited intelligence.

  • really

    I agree Amber..A loaded gun with no safety and children wow irresponsible and tragic a hard lesson…wake up call..It isn’t the guns fault it is the gun owners fault and obviuosly not a responsible gun owner.. and are guns even allowed in walmart and did this person have a conceal carry permit …so it is not the gun laws fault.. the law doesn’t allow that is not an issue

    • Bob

      Really, the biggest concern at this point is how the family will come up with the money to bury her sorry a-s-s… The permit issue no longer matters…

  • Willam Nat

    It’s been years since a high tech gun was developed in Australia that can’t be shot by anyone except the person who’s hand prints are stored in the weapons. When are companies going to produce it in quantity? Anti-gun people don’t want it because it will eliminate the main reason against guns— cases like this article describes. Manufacturers don’t want it because it will cost them money. About time people forget ideology and force gun makers to sell only the high tech guns!

    • soulobigdaddy

      that makes so much sense. I suggested this awhile back. It’s like a no-brainer. It’d take a long time for all the older guns to get phased out if ever but would be a start in the right direction for the future!!

      • Bob

        You are wrong soulbo. The owner needs to maintain control of the gun at all times and this type of incident never happens. If she is unable to do so she shouldn’t be carrying the weapon.. Real simple. Do you understand????

      • soulobigdaddy

        you seem like one miserable piece of chit. Because I don’t have the same view as you, does not make me wrong. Guns with the type of technology mentioned would also aid in the prevention of gun theft, and accountability when shooting someone bob the knob

  • Bob

    Rule number 1 when carrying a concealed weapon is maintain possession of your weapon at all times. Wondering if the mom refused to buy the kid some candy and he took her gun out and shot her???

  • Bob

    Reasonless, I was in agreement with you until I read the first sentence in your comment. Then I thought, this guy is not very intelligent. You are blaming her lack of responsibility in carrying a concealed weapon on society??? If she maintains possession of her weapon properly the incident does not occur and as a result we are not forced to read your unbelievably stupid comment. Keep the weapon under your control at all times and the kid doesn’t get his hands on it. When will you start thinking logically Reasonless????

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